A Mechanistic Review on Plant-derived Natural Inhibitors of Human Coronaviruses with Emphasis on SARS-COV-1 and SARS-COV-2

Sai Krishna Guguloth, A R Lakshmi, Radhika Rajendran, Kaushik Rajaram, Thirunavukkarasu Chinnasamy, Jian-Dong Huang, Hongjie Zhang, Sanjib Senapati, Siva Sundara Kumar Durairajan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Coronaviruses have been receiving continuous attention worldwide as they have caused a serious threat to global public health. This group of viruses is named so as they exhibit characteristic crown-like spikes on their protein coat. SARS-CoV-2, a type of coronavirus that emerged in 2019, causes severe infection in the lower respiratory tract of humans and is often fatal in immunocompromised individuals. No medications have been approved so far for the direct treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the currently available treatment options rely on relieving the symptoms. The medicinal plants occurring in nature serve as a rich source of active ingredients that could be utilized for developing pharmacopeial and non-pharmacopeial/synthetic drugs with antiviral properties. Compounds obtained from certain plants have been used for directly and selectively inhibiting different coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. The present review discusses the potential natural inhibitors against the highly pathogenic human coronaviruses, with a systematic elaboration on the possible mechanisms of action of these natural compounds while acting in the different stages of the life cycle of coronaviruses. Moreover, through a comprehensive exploration of the existing literature in this regard, the importance of such compounds in the research and development of effective and safe antiviral agents is discussed. We focused on the mechanism of action of several natural compounds along with their target of action. In addition, the immunomodulatory effects of these active components in the context of human health are elucidated. Finally, it is suggested that the use of traditional medicinal plants is a novel and feasible remedial strategy against human coronaviruses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-835
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Drug Targets
Issue number8
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Human Coronaviruses
  • MERS-CoV
  • SARS-CoV
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • natural inhibitors


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